Speeches & Floor Statements
Posted on September 6, 2016
Last Tuesday, I attended a funeral for Officer Kenny Moats of Maryville, Tennessee, a police officer killed in the line of duty responding to a domestic disturbance call.
Kenny Moats was a young man. He had three young children, Mackenzie, Kamron, and Tyson. His wife, Britteni, and he are in their early 30's.
Nothing has so touched our community that I can remember in a long, long time. Maryville, Tennessee, is a small town. Blount County is our county. Things like this are not supposed to happen where we live.
An officer gets a call. He goes to deal with a domestic disturbance, and he's ambushed from the house where he's called by a person who was arrested and is now in jail.
There was a huge outpouring of support from our community not just for Kenny Moats, but also for the men and women in blue of the Maryville City Police Department and of the Blount County Deputies who were there as well.
There was a procession before the funeral. The funeral was at 7:00 last Tuesday. The church, Sevier Heights Baptist Church, began filling up at 4:00. It was nearly full with hundreds of people, and there were more than 1,200 who listened in on a webcast.
The next day as I was driving to the airport, I found myself behind a procession of maybe 200 squad cars from many different police departments and sheriff's offices around our state and other places. There was a flag of honor, the United States flag of honor that is flown to honor first responders who are killed in the line of duty. It was driven from Texas so it could be there to honor Kenny Moats as well.
So today on the Senate floor, I come simply to express the feelings of the United States Senate, I'm sure all of us, to his family and to those who serve with him in the Maryville City Police Department, to the Blount County Sheriff’s Deputies, to the entire community who have all grieved over his loss.
At the funeral, the police chief, Tony Crisp, gave a commendation to Officer Moats. It's called the “Commendation of Valor.” It's awarded to a police officer who demonstrates gallantry and extraordinary heroism. The act must have been so exceptional that the rules say that “the officer while fully aware of the imminent threat to their own personal safety assumed a voluntary course of action above and beyond the call of duty at the risk of his own life.” This commendation is the highest decoration conferred by the department.
I was moved, as was everyone in the church last Tuesday night by Chief of Police Tony Crisp’s reading of the “Commendation of Valor.” I would like to offer that “Commendation of Valor” to be inserted at this point in the Record and express once again to the family of Kenny Moats and to the Maryville police department and all of the law enforcement officers in the area, our respect for his life, his bravery and for what they do to protect us on a daily basis.